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WinSCP used OpenCandy advertising module in its sponsored installation package in the past, until August 2012. Had you used this version of the installer you supported WinSCP development. Thank you! If you did not want to support WinSCP development in this way, you could always use the other ad-free installation package.

The OpenCandy module shows at maximum one ad and only during the installation. WinSCP application itself does not contain OpenCandy and does not show any ads.

OpenCandy is advertising application. It is similar to Google AdSense, except it displays advertisements in installation program instead on a website. These advertisements promote another software packages. The advertisements are selected by providers of software being installed (in case of WinSCP it means WinSCP developers). When user installing a software (WinSCP) chooses to install promoted package, revenue is generated and shared between OpenCandy and software providers (WinSCP developers).

Is it Adware?

Some may consider OpenCandy an adware. In a good sense of the term, it is. It is a way to recover software development costs using advertisement.


On the other hand, OpenCandy does not demonstrate the negative characteristics commonly associated with adware, but:

  • Advertisement is shown only during software installation. Once software (WinSCP) is installed, you do not receive any more advertisements.
  • No unwanted software is installed. (WinSCP) user has absolute control over what will be installed and a software recommendation presented during the installation has to be explicitly decided upon. On the OpenCandy Software Network developers (WinSCP team) can choose concerning how they wish to recommend software, ‘opt-in’ or ‘opt-out’. For software recommendations, ‘opt-in’ refers to recommendations where nothing is preselected or where the box next to Do not install is selected by default, while ‘opt-out’ refers to recommendations where Install is the default option. (Currently all software recommendations in WinSCP installers are ‘opt-in’.)
  • No private information is collected. Installation program collects only information necessary to choose relevant advertisement, such as geo-location, operating system and language. Note that this is about the same amount of information, any web page you visit receives from your web browser. Collected data is sent to It also downloads advertisement image from (though it does not send any information there). See more details about information being collected.

For details see OpenCandy privacy policy.

Can I avoid OpenCandy?

Yes you can. Use /NOCANDY parameter when starting installation program or download version of installation program without OpenCandy. And if you use portable executable you will avoid installation program with OpenCandy as well.

What does an OpenCandy recommendation look like?

Below is an example of OpenCandy recommendation screen in WinSCP sponsored installation program. Use the Install … button (or similar) to choose to install the recommended application. Use the Do not install … button (or similar) to continue installing WinSCP without installing the recommended application.

Adware Alerts

In the past, some versions of WinSCP sponsored installer were triggered as an adware by some Antivirus application. When this happens we promptly file false-possitive dispute with the Antivirus application vendor. The problem then usually gets resolved withing few days with virus definition update.

There were two significant disputes in the past that made us withdraw sponsored installer temporarily:

  • At the end of 2010 OpenCandy module in the sponsored installer was marked as adware by Microsoft Security Essentials on the grounds that one of the software vendors that uses OpenCandy module had not included EULA in their installer.
  • In the middle of 2011 OpenCandy module in the sponsored installer was marked as adware by McAfee Virus Scan on the grounds that it connects to OpenCandy website even before user accepts EULA. This problem was fixed in 4.3.6.
  opencandy.txt · Last modified: by Petr

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